The Ins and Outs of Coping with Suicidal Thoughts
Managing suicidal thoughts is not an easy task for anyone. While treatment is the most important part of handling this symptom of depression, it’s not always enough. There are a number of things you can be doing to help yourself overcome these thoughts and negative emotions. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, here are a few things you can be doing to help cope.
First Step is Quality, Consistent Treatment
It cannot be stressed enough that consistent treatment is necessary for someone experiencing suicidal thoughts. While you can do some things to help counteract depression and suicidal thoughts, these actions are no replacement for professional help. If you cannot afford traditional treatment, you may consider online treatment or getting advice from a free health clinic.
Build a Support Network
No one should have to overcome suicidal thoughts alone. Try to open up to people in your life who can help you through this difficult time. Know that you may have to offer them resources for how they can help, why suicidal thoughts occur, and what depression is. A support network can only be as good as their information on the problem. Of course, you may not feel comfortable opening up to anyone close to you, and if so, that’s ok. There are many suicide prevention services waiting to help you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and IMAlive at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) are both toll-free crisis hotlines available 24/7.
Do Your Best to Exercise Regularly
Exercise is one of the best depression-fighting activities you can do. The endorphins it releases allow your mood to go up and your suicidal thoughts to be less frequent. Unfortunately, depression also makes it very difficult to do regular exercise. Even tasks that seem simple to others can appear to be impossible. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy doing. For example, if you hate running, try swimming. It’s a great workout and it’s also calming and soothing. On the good days, be sure to fit exercise in. On the bad days, don’t beat yourself up over missing a workout. Instead set smaller goals. For example, your exercise for the day may be walking to check your mail or completing one household cleaning task. These are tasks that will help you get up and moving when feeling especially depressed.
Consider Adopting a Dog
Dogs are another excellent way to fight depression. A dog can prevent feelings of loneliness by offering love and affection as well as a happy face to come home to. Dogs will also make exercise easier by insisting on playtime or daily walks. In fact, if you don’t feel up to taking on the responsibility of caring for a pet fulltime, you might offer your services as a dog walker. When you do so, you’ll get the physical and mental health benefits of being around dogs, while making some extra money on the side. Whether you’re walking your own dog or someone else’s, the outings will be essential because they’ll give you the opportunity for more social interaction as people stop to say hi to the dog and ask what his name is. It may not seem like much, but to someone with depression, it can make all the difference.
Meditation takes far less effort and can be easier to perform on your bad days. It may not have an immediate effect but, with time, meditation can help you stay calm and rational throughout your illness. It is the practice of learning to control your own mind, an invaluable skill for someone with depression. Even a few minutes each day spent meditating can make a difference. Perhaps the best thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere. So, whether you find yourself needing a moment to quiet your mind at work or at home, meditation is a great tool to have in your belt, offering you a positive solution to calming negative thoughts.
Find an Enjoyable Hobby
Depression can suck the joy out of every activity you do, including hobbies. However, a hobby is still an excellent tool to distract your mind and hands when a suicidal thought strikes. It can also help manage other symptoms of depression by allowing you to feel as though you did something productive. Many people with depression will experience worsened symptoms after a day spent unable to do anything. Even if you only manage to knit a single hat, you have accomplished something and that knowledge can be very helpful.
Suicidal thoughts can be intrusive, leaking into every aspect of your life. However, if you can build a solid support system, make a few positive changes in your daily routine, and ensure that you are getting help, it is fully possible to recover from this condition.
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